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Just Label It Campaign

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Consumers have a right to know what’s in the food we eat and feed our children, including whether food is genetically engineered. We all should be able to make informed choices, and have the ability to choose whether to buy genetically engineered food or not.  In November this will be California’s first-ever ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.  Over 40 countries including all of Europe, Japan and China already label GMO’s.

You can sign the petition and tell the FDA to label GMO’s here.

Currently there are more than five-hundred partner organizations including Earl’s Organic Produce representing food and farming organizations, farmers, the healthcare community, consumer advocates, concerned parents, environmentalists, businesses, the faith-based community, and many more concerned with protecting the consumer’s right to know have joined together on this issue.

Whats more is that numerous polls have shown that up to 95% of Americans want genetically engineered foods to have a mandatory label. Read more about these polls on this list compiled by the True Food Network.

Genetically engineered (GE) foods, also referred to as genetically modified, or GMOs, are those that are altered at the molecular level in ways that could not happen naturally. This means plants and animals have had their genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs. These techniques use DNA molecules from different sources, sometimes different species, and combine them into one molecule to create a new set of genes (e.g. mixing of flounder genes into tomatoes so they can grow larger and more quickly.) Learn more about how this is done here.

Today the majority of corn has been genetically engineered to produce toxins to kill pests, where as soy, canola, sugar beets and cotton have been genetically modified to withstand large applications of chemicals and are classified as “herbicide tolerant.” Genetically engineered crops have been credited with an increase of 383 million pounds of herbicide use in the U.S. over the first 13 years of commercial use (1996- 2008).

Genetically engineered foods are harder to avoid than you may think. A recent estimate is that about 75 percent of processed foods contain one or more genetically modified ingredients. The majority of food containing  GMOs are from staple crops such as corn or soy, which are then processed into ingredients and food additives. The following additives contain corn or soy: soy protein, soy lecithin, corn flour, corn starch, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, ascorbic acid, citric acid, dextrose, glucose, lactic acid, monosodium glutamate (MSG), xantham gum, and many more. It is estimated that 80 percent of all processed foods contained derivatives from soy and corn (Non-GMO Project). These derivatives are found in countless processed foods such as cereals, baby foods, breads, chips, high fructose corn syrup, frozen meals and many other products. The USDA’s Economic Research Service, in 2009, found that 93 percent of soy, 93 percent of cotton, and 86 percent of corn grown in the United States were genetically modified (ERS, 2010). These percentages continue to grow.

The terrifying truth is that American consumers have been consuming foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients for the past ten years while remaining largely in the dark. The best options if you are looking to avoid genetically engineered foods are to buy USDA certified organic as the USDA organic standards prohibit the use of GMOs; to look for verified Non-GMO products ; and to buy unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables as few whole foods are genetically engineered (but beware, conventionally grown Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and yellow crookneck squash can be genetically engineered!)

As more and more proposals for new genetically engineered crops reach the USDA, EPA, and FDA for testing and approval (such as salmon, and a number of fruits and vegetables) avoiding these foods without a labeling system will become increasingly difficult if not near impossible.

Check out the full list of 8 Things You Can Do if You’re Concerned about GEs/GMOs and Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods. You can also download the “True Food” app for your phone to check the list while you are grocery shopping.

Don’t forget to sign the petition and tell the FDA you want your food labeled!





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